. tonight on "nightline," monster tornado, powerful twisters tear a path of destruction across the heart of texas. tonight the storm that exploded power lines and sent 18-wheelers flying. and the con-man, from tsunamis to earthquakes to tornadoes, this guy shows up asking for money and saying he's everything, from a doctor to a government agent. but is he any of those things? or is this a real life, catch me if you can? plus, she's the youngest constant and only woman elected governor of south carolina.
could this tea party superstar embattled racism and rumors of affairs. nikki haley opens up about her nerves of steel and her sky-high stilettos. >> good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden. tonight people in texas, louisiana, and missouri, are keeping watch as the storm that sent violent tornadoes across the dallas foft worth area remains a severe threat. it destroyed buildings and sent tractor trailers spiraling through the air. sam champion brings us incredible stories of the people who weathered the storm. >> reporter: oh, wow! >> reporter: take a look at this, as a pair of ferocious
twisters hit in dallas today. the national weather service called the two twisters large and extremely dangerous. just look at their power, bowling over tractor trailers, lifting several clean off the ground and hurling them through the air. take a look at that again. keep in mind, these trucks weigh anywhere from 15,000, to 30,000 pounds. now watch debris fly and power lines go down. residents ran for cover and roofs were blown off homes. check out this from a storm chaser on the scene as a huge funnel cloud touches down in forney, texas, destroying up to 30 homes. listen to this incredible story of survival. lindsay's mother was babysits lindy's 18-month-old son lane and two other children when the twister hit their sub division home in forney. she took the kids into the bathtub and saved her grandson by holding on to his feet as he was almost lifted out of her
arms. >> she saved his life. she stayed on him and the babies she babysits. she had three of them and kept them all alive. >> reporter: both grandma and baby are fine, but the house is destroyed. local resident brandy filmed one of the tornadoes coming right for her. >> to see this with your own eyes, it was phenomenal. >> a reporter from our fill nat shows us the damage in arlington. >> this is the underside of a camper. where was the camper? 70 yards down the street. however, no one injured in this fort worth suburb. >> reporter: in one school, students were ordered to duck. and more than a hundred planes
were damaged by the golf-ball size hail. janice saw the weather sitting from her plane on the runway. >> when we got into the terminal, we were told to go to shelters. most of them are the rest rooms. >> reporter: it's a scene becoming all too familiar. the tornadoes in joplin, missouri, killed 153 people, almost one year ago. just last month, a series of twisters battered ohio, and indiana. earlier in the season than the region had ever seen before. though it's hard to know whether the whacky march weather in which over 7,000 record temperatures were recorded has had anything to do with it. >> reporter: we haven't found a linkage between the warm weather in march and what we're seeing now. in fact, this part of texas, dallas fort worth counties, they
experience a couple of these tornadoes a year. it's not uncommon in april in this part of texas. >> reporter: the national weather service is testing a new warning system in kansas, missouri, and nebraska, hoping that using frightening language like catastrophic or unsurvivable tornadoes in the warnings, will encourage residents to take cover even more quickly. so what do you do if you find yourself in the path of one of these storms? >> safety experts say, stay away from windows, get into a basement if you can. if you can't, find a ground-floor bathroom or closet, cover yourself with a mattress and wear a helmet if you have one. they sound simple, but they could be life-saving tips for what some experts say could be the start of a rough season. i'm sam champion in new york. >> mike joins us now from dallas. you started your day in norman, oklahoma, now you're in dallas.
tell us what you heard on the way. >> at my classroom i left and when i hit dallas, there was bulletin after bulletin, warning residents of tornadoes. you could see the dark, ominous clouds. it looked very, very bad. >> did you see much destruction on the way? >> no. i was surprised. i thought i would see a lot of destruction because some of the tornadoes were heading towards the downtown area. but it was not until i hit where i'm standing now. >> a miracle. thanks, mike. "good morning america" will have the latest on the storm in the morning. up next, meet the man authorities are calling the real life, catch me if you can. [ sighs ] [ announcer ] all work and no play... will make brady miss his favorite part of the day. ♪ [ upbeat ] [ barking ]
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when disaster strikes, a tsunami or a tornado, the volunteers in relief workers who swoop in are often heroic which makes the story we're about to tell you so very disturbing. about a man who allegedly scammed victims of calamity across the globe. here's abc's chief investigative correspondent, brian ross. >> reporter: it was one month and a day ago today that this huge tornado hit the town of henryville, indiana. >> that's a big tornado! >> there's a tornado right there, guys. >> reporter: a school bus driver got her students out just in time. >> go, go, go! >> the bus was blown into a restaurant. across town the school and dozens of homes were destroyed. >> i was here with three older
brothers. >> reporter: in the aftermath, henryville needed all the help it could get. so gerald flint was more than welcome when he showed up and started to issue orders, wearing the trademark flight suit he's worn at disasters around the world. >> he portrayed himself as some kind of commander. >> saying that he was with the natural disaster relief group. >> he claimed to be homeland security. >> reporter: but when authorities say the people of henryville did not realize was that flint was an imposter, someone drawn to tornadoes, earthquakes, war, chaos, and disaster. someone who appears to practice medicine without a medical license. someone authorities call a real-life version of the leonardo dicaprio imposter character in the film, catch me if you can. >> are you a real-life pirate? >> i sure am. >> reporter: in indiana, the people of henryville say they began to have suspicions when
flint asked local residents to ask for donations. >> collecting cash and having people make checks out to cash. >> reporter: then flint began to collect emergency supplies. >> we got his truck and trailer loaded up, and off they go. >> reporter: but authorities say many of the supplies he collected never made it to the disaster victims of henryville. >> he was not able to provide a satisfactory explanation of where those supplies went. >> reporter: the state police moved in, and now flint is charged with theft of the some of the supplies and impersonating a government official. according to prosecutor jeremy mull. was he even homeland security? >> he was not. >> reporter: was he a federal agent? >> he was not. >> reporter: so based on what you know, he was a great imposter? >> that's correct, yes. >> reporter: in a jail house interview, flint denied the charges. >> reporter: did you ever tell anyone that you were with homeland security? >> negative, never.
>> reporter: but then he told abc news he did have a role with homeland security, a claim authorities say is just not true. >> i'm climbing the ladder with homeland security. i don't know how the confusion came in, but i have to use some protocols with homeland security to report some things they saw, and that was my duty. >> reporter: our abc news investigation of flint found he's spent years showing up at disaster areas on behalf of a charity he founded called volunteer medics worldwide. pictures he's posted online show how he's saved thousands of lives. authorities say the video posted by flint online showing him conducting eye procedures on a young woman in africa, raise questions about his medical qualifications. >> our investigation is to the amount of medical training that he has, lead us to believe that he has not properly qualified to be engaging in medical procedures or dispensing
medication. >> reporter: flint did serve in a military medevac unit, but the only credential we could find was a delinquent vocational nurse's license in california. >> reporter: do you have a medical degree or license? >> i can't answer that at the moment. >> you can't answer that? >> yeah. >> god bless everybody, god bless america. >> reporter: as flint was being driven to jail, he pulled what authorities believe was another stunt, appearing to pass out from some kind of physical emergency. in a last ditch effort to avoid being sent to jail. the people of henryville say jail is where he belongs. >> it feels good that the next person's not going to have to go through this. >> in court flint entered a plea of not guilty, telling the judge he served his country faithfully and wanted to clear his name the
people of henryville, indiana say they can't wait to see what he has to say. just ahead, the fresh face of the tea party. could this come be his vice president? i'd like to tell you about netflix. it's an amazing service that lets you watch unlimited movies and tv episodes instantly over the internet. you watch netflix on your pc or on your tv. best of all, netflix is only eight bucks a month. ♪ best of all, netflix is only eight bucks a month. i bathed it in miracles. director: [ sighs ] cut! sorry to interrupt. when's the show?
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tonight mitt romney swept all three republican primaries in wisconsin, maryland, and washington, d.c. although the race continues tonight, this all but ensures his position as the presidential nominee. yet one of romney's weak points is he can't seem to win over women. so he'll likely be calling on one of his most visible female supporters, south carolina's governor, nikki haley. the glamourous darling of the tea party and tonight's
"nightline" interview. >> reporter: nikki haley was thrust into the national spotlight, one of the tea party's most visible champions, sara palin, came to endorse her bid for governor in 2010. >> she has the conservative values that make her a strong defender of all of ur values. >> reporter: we took a walk on the same steps friday. haily boasts of how fierce she can be in high heels. >> reporter: those are pretty high. when you kick it's got to hurt. >> no one can come into the office without read being this first. the sign on her door announces her philosophy. can't is not an option. it's also the title of her new book. >> when you walk into this office, don't give nee excuses on why we can't do things. >> the unemployment number just dropped again. [ applause ] >> reporter: that take-charge pizzazz combined with
conservatives made her one of the most coveted in gop primary season. she went with mitt romney, but he lost her state by a whopping 13 points. >> reporter: do you think it means you're losing your political fairy dust? >> i don't care about that. what i know is i can sleep at night. i still think he's the best person to beat president obama. >> reporter: and if he asked you to be vice president? >> i would say no. i made a promise to the people of this state. that plomis matters and i intent to keep it. >> reporter: it helps to understand a little girl who grew up in rural south carolina, in this house. >> it's where my heart is. we were the only indian family in this small southern town. they didn't know what to make us us. >> reporter: her parents told their kids that while their differences make them special, there were rough spots. >> reporter: the pageant was an eye-opening experience. >> it was the thing to do in the
town. there was a black queen and there was a white queen, and they disqualified me and my sister because they didn't want to upset either side. i remember, my mom just said, can she at least do her talent because i had practiced. so i sang, this land is your land and this land is my land. they gave me a beach ball. >> reporter: but she says the experience did not embitter her. quite the contrary. >> this same town that may have disqualified us in a pageant was the same town that accepted me into girl scouts, was the same town that when my brother was deployed, they wrapped their arms around us. that's the message, how much our country has changed. >> reporter: it's not over, though? >> it's not over. i had a white senator called my a radical and i've been called a conservative with a tan. but that does not define us. >> she refused to invite the two
to the annual barbecue at the mansion. >> we kept out those two because i don't want them around my kids. >> and allegations of extra marital affairs emerged. >> reporter: she said sara palin predicted the better she did, the uglier it would get. the day that the first accusations came forward, she called you. >> she did. >> reporter: asked two questions. are you ak and is it true? >> yes, i'm okay, and no it's not true. and let's fight. >> reporter: they did, she won. while that's a lot of republican sister hood, women in general seem to be punishing republicans on the heels of the birth control debate. >> there's been a lot of talk about whether or not there's a republican war on women. is there? >> no.
the public likes to think that women only care about kprappingz and certain women's issues. they care about jobs and the economy. >> and they also care about contraception. >> yes, they do. i don't think the government should have to mandate for them to have it in fl insurance policy. >> reporter: husband michael shares many of the household duties, including cooking. >> he's a great cook. and i'm not. thank goodness because if he didn't cook, we wouldn't eat. >> when she met me in college, i only had one pot. the only time she did cook, she made macaroni and cheese and burned it so bad i had to throw away my pot. >> i don't want to be labelled anything. i'm nicky, born and raised in bam burg, the proud wife of an officer in the military and the very proud mother of two